So, you want to write for us? Well, to make it easier to understand the expectations we place on our writers, we’ve created a guideline to aid your writing and to ensure minimal time is spent editing pieces that aren’t up-to-standard and to help us spend more time creating valuable and engaging content for Manchester United fans. The step-by-step guide below will take you through how to create the content we’re looking for from you.
1. The Title
The title of your article should include a capital letter at the start of every word, due to our preference as a website and the belief it appears more professional than a title with words in all lower-case. For an example of this, see our home page and the latest content that appears will all feature this style of title. In addition, you should try to make the title detailed whilst avoiding the danger of losing effect by writing too much, which also affects our SEO. For this reason, it’s likely if you do not have a basic understanding of SEO, your title will be edited before publishing. This is no problem though, so don’t panic!
2. The Introduction
As you’ll be more than aware if you are a writer, the introduction should set the tone of the article. If it is a news report, state what the headline is in the first line of the article, before adding ‘according to reports’. A second small paragraph should then follow adding more context. An example of this can be seen by heading to our news section. If it’s a feature/opinion piece, there is more creative freedom for you to decide how you want to begin, but it should be relevant to the angle of the article.
In terms of styling the content we post, most will be done by the editor and we try to give off a simple and clean look to help our readers get the details they want without any complications. However, there are some small details we like to maintain in all our content. When using a quote, it should be published in the italics font so our readers can separate the quote from the story. An example of this would be: Marcus Rashford said: “I’m delighted to be extending my contract at Manchester United and the support from the fans has been incredible.”
4. Using Images
Within articles, every image we use is from the Getty Images plugin which allows publishers to use Getty-credited pictures on their website. The plugin button can be found above the article toolbar, along with the ‘add media’ and ‘add form’ options. To use this, enter the keyword for the image you’re wanting to find, so if it’s a picture of Paul Pogba you’re after, enter his name and scroll through the listed images until you find one you like. Once you have found one, use the scroller on the far-right to scroll underneath your selected image until you see the ‘align’ option. Click on that, select ‘centre’ followed by ‘insert into post’. If the image doesn’t show, opt for a similar image or contact one of the team members. It’s likely the images you have chosen may be changed before publishing by an editor, simply to add quality to your piece if the images you have selected don’t fit the standard, but again, this is normal and doesn’t mean you have done anything wrong, so don’t worry. Never use an image within an article that isn’t from the Getty Plugin, as we do not have permission to do so and this can be flagged as copyright infringement. Lastly, though there is plenty of great images to choose from, don’t overdo the number of images within an article as this can disrupt the flow of your work.
Though the aim of the website is to inform fans of the latest news and opinion, we do not and will never claim to have inside information about the club or any insight into transfer news. Therefore, crediting appropriate sources is key to making sure the quality of the content we provide is high whilst also fairly highlighting the original source. For example, if you’re writing a news report based on a journalists story, you should add ‘according to [insert source]’ after informing readers of the headline. Not only that, you should then insert a link to the original story into the source’s name. An example of this would be: ‘According to Spanish outlet Marca, David De Gea is in talks with Real Madrid’. This way, if our readers wish to head to the original story, they can click on the source provided. This should be done from any content you use that is not created by yourself, such as news, quotes, stats and more.
6. The Dont’s
Although emotion in your opinion pieces is great because it allows the reader to feel more connected with a writer, try to avoid using ‘I’ in your articles as much as you can. It’s a website preference rather than a flaw, but it’s better to find more ways of connecting with fans than referencing yourself in an article continuously. In opinion pieces, try to avoid including any agenda’s about a player in your analysis of their role in the squad. Disagreeing with a player’s contribution to the team is fine, but degrading them as a person, criticising their off-field life such as fashion or social media activity and the use of volatile language towards a player wearing the shirt won’t feature on our site. It’s just not for us. Plagiarism is another big no-no, however, it shouldn’t be a worry with the writers we recruit. Lastly, although we don’t employ you and have any hold over you, please act like a normal human-being online. Anyone writing for us or who has previously written for us who shares any kind of opinion or expression online that appears to be a form of racism, harassment or slightly strange behaviour will have their work deleted immediately and their association with us ended.
As far as the basics go, that’s about it! Don’t be afraid to ask any questions if you are not sure before writing a piece, no question is a silly question if your intentions are in the right place.